We’d like to think that despite the influence of neoconservatism, capital export, a colonial heritage, general public apathy and the pressures of a global economy that our fellow Canadians are reasonable and intelligent enough to find the best possible approaches to the issues of the day by themselves. Should confusion set in we could seek an external role model. We could choose much, much worse than Norway. In comparing the two a mix of similarities and differences emerges, both countries are wintery places with powerful neighbours in which natural resources play a big role in the economy, especially oil.
Canadians better feel a little uneasy when comparing their management of resources to how it’s done in a much smaller, more socially and politically cohesive Norway. Norway has managed to amass a money chest via its oil resources in the form of a $600 billion dollar bank account. Alberta is sitting on less than twenty. The royalty charged on a barrel of oil from Canada is a fraction of what Norway charges.
As the comparison expands, the greater the need for Gravol becomes on the part of the Canadian reader. Norway is plowing its oil wealth into health, education, culture and infrastructure. Oh to be in their shoes and have their problems! Canadians are standing around carping about their taxes, buying lotto tickets and racking up credit card debt, selling resources cheap to whoever comes along and praying the real estate market doesn’t crash. Norway, meanwhile, develops itself in substantial ways for the long term.
While looking into this topic, suburban-poverty.com came across a series in The Tyee, a west coast publication. If suburban-poverty.com could sponsor a major journalism award with a fancy gala evening, speeches and $100,000 prize, well, this series would be exactly the type of thing we’d nominate.
Secrets to Norway’s Petro-Wealth: Lessons for Canada?
Nine part series – The Tyee